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The Archimedes Palimpsest

The Archimedes Palimpsest

Volume 1. Catalogue and Commentary

$184.00 (R)

Part of The Archimedes Palimpsest Publications

William Noel, Abigail Quandt, John Lowden, Erik Petersen, William A. Christens-Barry, Roger L. Easton, Jr, Keith T. Knox, Uwe Bergmann, Doug Emery, Alex Lee, Michael Toth, Natalie Tchernetska, Nigel Wilson, Reviel Netz
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  • Date Published: December 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107014572

$ 184.00 (R)

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About the Authors
  • The Archimedes Palimpsest is the name given to a Byzantine prayer-book which was written over a number of earlier manuscripts, including three unique examples containing works by Archimedes, unquestionably the greatest mathematician of antiquity. Sold at auction in 1998, it has since been the subject of a privately funded project to conserve, image and transcribe its texts. In this volume the scientists, conservators, classicists and historians involved in the project discuss in full their techniques and their discoveries. These include new speeches by the classical Athenian orator Hyperides, a lost commentary on Aristotle's Categories from the second or third century AD and substantial re-readings and reinterpretations of the works by Archimedes. The book discusses the pioneering imaging and post-processing techniques used to reveal the texts and includes detailed codicological descriptions of all eight manuscripts comprising the Palimpsest. It will be of interest to manuscript scholars, classicists and historians of science.

    • Contains a full discussion of the conservation of the Archimedes Palimpsest, which is an important case study for the conservation of all badly degraded parchment documents
    • Includes a full history of the Archimedes Palimpsest itself, which will be of great value to medieval and modern historians interested in the transmission of texts
    • Discusses in detail the imaging of ancient documents, explaining the science behind the various available techniques
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "There is enormous expectation in the scholarly community about the arrival of the first copies of a new book from Cambridge University Press, which contains full color images of the palimpsest, a technical account of how the images were made and complete transcriptions of the texts. It’s too early to say whether this will revolutionize our understanding of Greek mathematics, but it will contain new texts thought to have been lost forever by the Greek orator Hyperides and the most complete versions of several works by Archimedes, including two books which exist only in this manuscript. This is the iceberg in full view, a massive tome that took more than a decade to produce, recovering — perhaps as fully as can ever be hoped — texts that miraculously escaped the oblivion of decay and destruction." --Washington Post

    "Cambridge University Press have surpassed themselves: these are, quite simply, among the loveliest printed books produced this century. Both volumes contain hundreds of photographs, all in breathtaking full colour; the type is elegant and spacious, and the page proportions of the layout are beautifully harmonious. It is a joy that serious books of such extraordinary art can still be produced." --Times Literary Supplement

    "...magnificent book..." --Classical World

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107014572
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 345 x 251 x 40 mm
    • weight: 2.5kg
    • contains: 58 b/w illus. 127 colour illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the Archimedes Palimpsest project William Noel
    Part I. The Manuscripts: Part II. History:
    1. The making of the Euchologion Abigail Quandt
    2. The strange and eventful history of the Archimedes Palimpsest John Lowden
    3. Itinera Archimedea: on Heiberg in Constantinople and Archimedes in Copenhagen Erik Petersen
    Part III. Conservation:
    4. Conserving the Archimedes Palimpsest Abigail Quandt
    Part IV. The Digital Palimpsest:
    5. Imaging and image-processing techniques William A. Christens-Barry, Roger L. Easton, Jr and Keith T. Knox
    6. Imaging with x-ray fluorescence Uwe Bergmann
    7. The Palimpsest data set Doug Emery, Alex Lee and Michael Toth
    Part V. The Texts:
    8. The Palimpsest in context Natalie Tchernetska and Nigel Wilson
    9. The place of Codex C in Archimedes scholarship Reviel Netz
    Appendix: concordance of foliations.

  • Editors

    Reviel Netz, Stanford University, California
    Reviel Netz is Professor of Classics and Professor of Philosophy, by courtesy, at Stanford University. His books, most published by Cambridge University Press, include The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics: A Study in Cognitive History (1999, Runciman Award), The Transformation of Early Mediterranean Mathematics: From Problems to Equations (2004) and Ludic Proof: Greek Mathematics and the Alexandrian Aesthetic (2009). He is also engaged in a translation of and commentary on the complete works of Archimedes, the first volume of which, The Two Books on Sphere and Cylinder, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2004. His popular book on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, The Archimedes Codex (co-authored with William Noel, Neumann Prize), was published in 2007 and has been translated into twenty languages.

    William Noel, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
    William Noel is Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore and Director of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project. His popular book, The Archimedes Codex (co-authored with Reviel Netz, Neumann Prize), was published in 2007 and has been translated into twenty languages. He is a member of the Faculty of Rare Book School at the University of Virginia and is Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University. Dr Noel received his doctorate from Cambridge University in 1993 and has published widely on European manuscript illumination in the period 800 to 1300 and on the Archimedes Palimpsest.

    Nigel Wilson, University of Oxford
    Nigel Wilson is a Fellow of the British Academy and Fellow and Tutor (Emeritus) at Lincoln College, Oxford. He has had long experience of research on Greek manuscripts and editing texts. His works include Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (with L. D. Reynolds, 3rd edition 1991) and Scholars of Byzantium (revised edition 1996).

    Natalie Tchernetska
    Natalie Tchernetska is a leading manuscript scholar specialising in Greek palimpsests. Educated in Riga, St Petersburg and Geneva, she conducted research in Rome and Hamburg and completed her doctorate at Cambridge University. In the late 1990s she was one of the first manuscript scholars in the world to venture into the field of digital imaging. In 2002 she discovered and identified the fragments of two speeches of Hyperides in the Archimedes Palimpsest; this discovery radically changed our view of the survival of Hyperides in Byzantium.


    William Noel, Abigail Quandt, John Lowden, Erik Petersen, William A. Christens-Barry, Roger L. Easton, Jr, Keith T. Knox, Uwe Bergmann, Doug Emery, Alex Lee, Michael Toth, Natalie Tchernetska, Nigel Wilson, Reviel Netz

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